Great Aunt Clara’s Late June Roses

Although it didn’t look like much until late in June each year, around the third or fourth week of the month the old rosebush planted by Dad’s Aunt Clara Richards Carberry sprang reliably back to life.  Great Aunt Clara had planted the rosebush back in the 1940s, along our fence, on the east side of the house, under the poplar trees. 

It was an uncertain time when she planted that rosebush, the years between 1939 and 1945 when World War II raged on, separating families from loved ones and prematurely ending young lives as they fought bravely on the front lines in Europe. 

By the time that I was old enough to be aware of the rosebush, it had spread, as perennials will and imparted a bright pink show of fragrant roses that stretched  for several yards along the old fence.  For almost five decades that we lived in the house that rosebush bloomed faithfully. Without any pruning or watering it gave us a lovely fuchsia display, shortly after the summer solstice had passed each year, as though that was its signal to begin to flower.

Maybe in such an unsettled time in our history Clara wanted to create some beauty that would last; something predictable and steadfast; something she could count on. 

So the rosebush bloomed like clockwork, late in June, each year for decades, watching silently from its sheltered patch under the poplars, along the fence, as one by one we finished our years in school and left the old homestead to go out and make our way in the world.  It watched all five of us come and go and thrived long past that time for another quarter of a century, until Mother sold the house and moved to town.

With a legacy like that, how could any of the short-lived ‘annual’ plants ever compare to this faithful old perennial planted by Clara so many years ago?  More importantly, how could we ever forget those bright pink fragrant roses and how they graced the edge of our yard so beautifully each year late in June?

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